Understanding Family Law Terminology
Recognizing that family law cases occur during emotionally complex times, we work to manage and resolve these issues as quickly and considerately as possible. To do this, we provide a full range of family representation services – covering all areas of family law.
- Divorce. Connecticut is a no-fault state. Therefore, generally, any person residing in Connecticut for one year may obtain a divorce (also known as dissolution of marriage) after waiting 90 days from the effective date of the legal action. A Superior Court judge will consider the distribution of marital debts and assets, as well as custody and support issues at the time of a final divorce. Where the parties are in agreement, a written separation agreement can be used as the terms and conditions of a divorce. This is commonly referred to as an uncontested divorce. Where property issues are in dispute, the parties will be placed on a limited contested docket. Finally, where child custody is at issue, a fully contested hearing will take place. Thorough discovery of an opposing party’s past, present and future financial condition is important. Detailed discovery is conducted where necessary.
- Mediation. Where parties desire to reduce legal fees and are able to resolve issues by communicating openly with one another, mediation services are provided. An attorney is assigned to assist the parties in reaching an agreement and to help them prepare the necessary written documentation.
- Child custody. Important and crucial decisions must be made regarding the custody and support of children. A child is eligible for child support from a biological parent until the age of 18 or until he/she graduates from high school, whichever is longer, but in no case beyond the age of 19. The court must consider and find custody and support orders that are in the best interests of children. Financial support is determined by the Connecticut Child Support Guidelines. This includes child support, day care and medical expenses. Child support is often revisited after a final divorce is ordered.
- Property distribution. As noted above, the court must ascertain marital debts and assets and distribute these at the time of divorce in a fair and equitable manner. All assets must be considered, including such things as real and personal property, pension/retirement plans, stock options, investments and motor vehicles. Detailed financial statements of the parties are necessary.
- Alimony. Both husbands and wives alike are legally eligible to receive alimony in Connecticut. Numerous factors are considered to determine the length and amount of alimony, where appropriate. The court will consider the age, health, station, occupation, amount and source of income, vocational skills, employability, estate and needs of each of the parties. Important tax ramifications are identified in your representation.
- Physical safety and other related issues. In situations where a party or a child has been threatened or may be in jeopardy, a restraining order will be filed. While this proceeding may complicate the divorce process, it is often necessary to secure the safety of family members involved. The separation or dissolution of a family will often have debilitating effects upon those involved. Parties are encouraged to maintain open and meaningful communication to achieve a dignified closure. We attempt to balance this while aggressively offering thorough representation.